The Concentric Eyewall Cycle of Hurricane Gilbert

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  • 1 NOAA/AOML/Hurricane Research Division, Miami, Florida
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Abstract

Hurricane Gilbert of 1988 formed an outer eyewall as it intensified rapidly toward a record minimum pressure of 888 hPa in the western Caribbean. The outer eyewall strengthened and contracted, while the inner eyewall showed some signs of weakening before landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula. Remarkably, both eyewalls survived passage over land, but the storm was much weaker when it entered the Gulf of Mexico. Although the primary cause of weakening was passage over land, the effect of the contracting outer eyewall may have contributed. Later, the outer eyewall completely replaced the inner eyewall. Subsequently, it contracted steadily but slowly as Gilbert maintained nearly constant intensity over the cooler waters of the Gulf before final landfall on the mainland of Mexico.

Abstract

Hurricane Gilbert of 1988 formed an outer eyewall as it intensified rapidly toward a record minimum pressure of 888 hPa in the western Caribbean. The outer eyewall strengthened and contracted, while the inner eyewall showed some signs of weakening before landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula. Remarkably, both eyewalls survived passage over land, but the storm was much weaker when it entered the Gulf of Mexico. Although the primary cause of weakening was passage over land, the effect of the contracting outer eyewall may have contributed. Later, the outer eyewall completely replaced the inner eyewall. Subsequently, it contracted steadily but slowly as Gilbert maintained nearly constant intensity over the cooler waters of the Gulf before final landfall on the mainland of Mexico.

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